The Problems With Most Multivitamins

When it comes to supplements, you are probably very specific about how you time your pre- and post-workout protein powder, BCAAs, creatine, beta-alanine, etc. After all, you want the most from the supplements that you spend your hard-earned money on. If you’re really smart, then you have already settled on using Pre JYM, Post JYM and Pro JYM because I took all the guess work out of it for you in regards to the ingredients, doses and timing.

Yet when it comes to a multivitamin, most of you probably don’t give much thought to the ingredients, doses or timing. You just grab any ol’ multivitamin that’s on sale and take it. It’s simple and effective. Well, it may be simple, but it is far from effective. You see, 99.99% of the multivitamins sold today are pretty useless. I’m not saying that supplementing with vitamins and minerals is useless, as it’s quite the contrary for those of us who train. What I am saying is that most multivitamin supplements have a multitude of problems that make them less than effective.

The Low Down
Before I get into the details of how most multivitamins do you wrong, let’s cover why a multivitamin, I mean a good multivitamin, should be first on your list of supplements. Research confirms that many athletes and/or those of us who train intensely, lose many critical vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, vitamin C, chromium, selenium, zinc, magnesium, iron, and copper. This is due to a variety of factors, such as loss of the minerals in sweat and urine, their increased use for energy production during workouts, as well as their increased use for recovery and protein synthesis following training. Therefore, it’s critical that you get at least the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) or DV (Daily Value) for most minerals, and get far more than these recommendations for most of the vitamins and for certain minerals to optimize your performance and results.

To read my article “Multivitamin/Mineral Roundup,” which covers the many benefits of supplementing with vitamins and minerals, click here:

Multi Madness
When it comes to shopping for a multivitamin, most people are looking for a multi that provides everything they need in one supplement. However, despite the fact that most multivitamins try to romance you with the fact that they provide everything you need, this is the last thing that you should be looking for in a multivitamin.

One major issue with the supplement industry is that few supplement companies have qualified scientists formulating their products. This problem shows up in multivitamins that provide ALL the micronutrients that you need in one product. It sounds convenient to take one dose of a multivitamin a day and be done with it. However, doing so would actually work against your efforts to cover all your bases on vitamin and mineral needs. This is because several micronutrients impair the uptake of other micronutrients. You could say that they essentially cancel each other out. But few supplement companies will actually educate you on this fact. Instead, they prey on the consumer’s wish for convenience and create products based on convenience, not science.

Another problem with the supplement industry is greed. As I’ve taught you regarding pre-workout supplements, post-workout supplements, fat burners and protein powders, most supplement companies create them with the simple goal of making money. So they cut corners and often lie about their products, producing multivitamins that are devoid of critical micronutrients or in far too inadequate doses to be of any real benefit.

This is why I created my own multivitamin/mineral supplement – Vita JYM. I formulated it to avoid all the problems that every other multivitamin has, and provide all the benefits that every other multivitamin doesn’t. The five main problems with most multivitamins are discussed below.

1. Competing Interests
The first big problem with most multivitamins sold today is zinc. I don’t mean that there’s too little of it; the problem is having any zinc in your multivitamin at all. Zinc is so critical, especially for those of us who train, but it can interfere with the absorption of amino acids. Let me say that again: Zinc can inhibit amino acid uptake! Since it’s important to take a multivitamin with a meal, such as breakfast, a multivitamin that includes zinc could interfere with your body’s ability to take up the amino acids from the protein you consumed at breakfast. And that could interfere with muscle growth. That’s the last thing that you want!

Zinc also interferes with copper uptake. Copper is something that you do want in your multivitamin. Zinc induces the intestinal synthesis of a copper-binding protein called metallothionein. Metallothionein traps copper within the cells in the intestines and prevents its absorption into the bloodstream. Plus, iron interferes with zinc absorption, anyway. Since you should have iron in your multivitamin if you train, you should skip the zinc until another time of day. That’s mainly why I recommend taking zinc at night through a ZMA supplement. To read more about ZMA, click on the link:

Calcium is another big problem in multivitamin supplements. Calcium interferes with zinc, iron and manganese absorption. But I can almost guarantee you that it’s in 99.99% of the multivitamins for sale. Then there’s magnesium, which is also found in most multivitamins. It interferes with manganese absorption as well as with calcium absorption. So these two minerals, calcium and magnesium, should also be completely absent from your multivitamin and be taken separately at another time of day.

Phosphorus is a fourth mineral that you do not want in your multivitamin. The typical diet is already quite rich in phosphorus. Having it in your multivitamin may raise phosphorus levels too high. This is problematic because it can prevent the conversion of vitamin D to its active form,  1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, in the kidneys. Since this form is the most potent form of vitamin D and provides the majority of its benefits in the body, this can have negative consequences on bone health as well as the numerous other benefits that vitamin D provides, such as better muscle strength and higher testosterone levels.

2. Missing Multis
Another problem with most multis is that they completely skip out on some critical micronutrients altogether. Or the doses that they do provide are at such low levels that they might as well have skipped them altogether.

One common vitamin that is on the MIA list for most multivitamins is vitamin K. Recent research suggests that far more people are deficient in vitamin K than originally believed. Research also shows that supplementing with vitamin K2 alleviates the symptoms of vitamin K deficiency and provides a host of health benefits, including protection against heart disease and cancer, enhanced brain function, skin health, boosting testosterone production and promoting the formation of bone. (For more on the proper from of vitamin K, read “Wrong Form” below).

Another missing or under-dosed micronutrient in many multis is iodine, which is critical for maintaining healthy thyroid function. Since most of the earth’s iodine is found in oceans, iodine deficiency is an important health problem throughout the world. With the demonization of salt/sodium, few people salt their food today and many restaurants use far less salt in their dishes as well. The problem with this is that table salt is iodized (has iodine added) to prevent iodine deficiencies. Research shows that diets that exclude iodized salt, fish and seaweed have been found to contain very little iodine. In fact, studies suggest that iodine intakes have declined in the U.S., Switzerland, and New Zealand. So if your multi is not proving you iodine at 100% of the DV or RDA, then it’s a problem.

Then there’s chromium, which is usually absent or severely under dosed. This is problematic because most diets are quite low in chromium. You could take a separate chromium supplement, but this is one of the minerals that is best to get in your multivitamin. That’s because chromium uptake is enhanced when it’s taken at the same time as vitamin C, which should be in your multi.

Copper is another mineral often missing completely or present in an adequate amount. Since higher intakes of zinc can lead to copper deficiency, and you should be certain to get 30 mg of zinc daily (separate from your multivitamin), it is important to get adequate copper. Evidence suggests that you should get copper and zinc at a 1:10 ratio for optimal health. Since you should be getting in 30 mg of zinc each day from ZMA, your multivitamin should provide a full 3 mg dose of copper.

3. Vitamin and Mineral Dusting
If any of the micronutrients discussed above in the “Missing Multis” section are actually found in your favorite multi, there is a very good chance that they are included at a dose too insignificant to provide any benefit.

As with the “dusting” that I have talked about in pre-workout supplements, many ingredients in a LOT of multivitamin products are severely under dosed. Not only are they under dosed for the hard-training individual, but they often aren’t even provided in adequate dose for the average couch potato. This is because supplement companies want to be able to list them on the Supplement Facts panel.

That way, the uneducated consumer sees the vitamin or mineral listed and assumes the multivitamin has enough of it in there. After all, how many people really know how much copper, iodine, or even B vitamins they need? Many supplement companies take advantage of that fact to make more money by using insignificant doses. Vitamin K, iodine, chromium, copper, selenium and the B vitamins are all typically under dosed, if included at all, in most multivitamins. Other minerals that are also usually under dosed include selenium, molybdenum and manganese. These minerals and vitamins should at the very least provide 100% of the Daily Value (DV) or RDA for them.

4. Wrong Form
Most multis also use cheap, ineffective, or even potentially dangerous forms of certain vitamins and minerals. Consider vitamin A. Vitamin A is often provided in multivitamins mainly as preformed vitamin A (retinol) in the form of retinyl palmitate or retinyl acetate. These forms are rapidly absorbed, but slowly cleared from the body, which can lead to toxicity and liver problems if too much is consumed. The body cannot easily flush out excess vitamin A because it’s fat soluble and is stored in the fat cells. Beta-carotene, on the other hand, is a much safer form of vitamin A to take as it only becomes active vitamin A when needed in the body. To avoid possible vitamin A toxicity, your multivitamin should provide all of its vitamin A from beta-carotene.

If you’re lucky to find a multivitamin that provides some Vitamin K, there is a very good chance that it is in the form of or vitamin K1, phylloquinone, also known as phytonadione. This form comes from plants, specifically green leafy vegetables, such as lettuce and spinach, as well as broccoli. Although this form of vitamin K is fine, it is not that necessary in a multivitamin since few people are vitamin K1 deficient.

The other main form of vitamin K, vitamin K2, menaquinone, appears to be the more critical form to supplement with. The menaquinones have repeating 5-carbon units on the side chain of the molecule. These forms of vitamin K are designated menaquinone-n (MK-n), such as MK-4 or MK-7, where the n stands for the number of 5-carbon units. Of the menaquinones, menaquinone-4 (MK-4) and menaqionone-7 (MK-7) are the most critical to supplement with. MK-4 is found in meat and dairy (significantly higher in meat and dairy from grass-fed cows), as well as egg yolks. MK-7 comes from fermented products, such as cheese, sauerkraut and nato (fermented soybeans).

The body requires so little vitamin K1 that just about everyone gets enough from their diet. Vitamin K2, on the other hand is required at a much higher dose and provides more benefits. While both vitamins K1 and K2 appear to be involved in blood clotting, K2 provides benefits that go far beyond that. Research suggests that being deficient in vitamin K may lower testosterone levels and that supplementing with MK-4 can increase testosterone production. This appears to be due to vitamin MK-4’s ability to activate specific enzymes in the testicles that are critical for testosterone production.

Chromium is another mineral that is typically given in a cheap, less-effective form, such as chromium chloride. The problem is that since this mineral tends to be low in athletes and those who train, you need a good dose in a form that’s readily absorbed, such as chromium picolinate. Chromium picolinate is a combination of chromium and picolinic acid. The addition of the picolinic acid enhances the uptake of chromium.

And then there’s vitamin B12. Many companies will try to tell you that methylcobalamin is the best form of B12 to use. While this is one of the active forms of B12, it just one of the active forms. There are two active of forms. The other active form of B12 is adenosylcobalamin, also known as dibencozide. While some multivitamins provide both of these, the problem is the stability of these active forms. There is evidence that they are not very stable and therefore, do not provide the actual dose of B12 listed on the label. The only way to consume a stable form of B12 that is readily converted to both methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin in the body is by taking the cyanocobalamin form of B12. Click on the link below to read more on cyanocobalamin:

5. Add Ons
Another problem is that other specialized ingredients, such as “male-enhancing” supplements, joint-healing supplements, performance supplements, omega-3 fats and other healthy fats, and even fat-burning ingredients are added on. This has become a popular trend in multivitamins. Sadly, it’s not because it’s effective supplementation. It’s a popular trend among supplement companies only because once one company duped enough supplement consumers into falling for it and buying a lot of these multivitamins, other companies followed their lead.

These add-on ingredients are usually not at the proper dose that they should be to be effective. So, if you truly feel you need a “male-enhancing” supplement, or supplements to aid joint recovery, or anything else, buy a separate supplement.

Rethink Your Multivitamin
Now that you are armed with this info on the real science behind taking vitamins and minerals, go back and analyze your favorite multivitamin. I must warn you that you may want to make sure that you are sitting down when you do so. That’s because I can almost guarantee you that your favorite multi is guilty of at least four of the five common problems that I discussed above. Sad, but true.

Next, compare my Vita JYM label to the label of your favorite multi. This will help you to see the info that I covered in this article in its application. Now you can see how I meticulously formulated Vita JYM to avoid all the problems that hamper most multivitamins and how I created the perfect multivitamin formula for men and women who train hard like I do.

Next, click on the link below to read my article “How to Take Vita JYM” for more in-depth information on supplementing Vita JYM along with calcium, vitamin D3 and zinc and magnesium via ZMA, and why its important to take them as I have outlined in the article:

Most people report feeling and seeing a difference in their energy levels, mood, performance and even physique after only a few weeks of supplementing with Vita JYM as I prescribe taking it. That’s because taking the critical micronutrients you need in the right doses, supplied in the right forms, and taken at the right times makes a world of difference in the way that your body functions. I might argue that nailing down your micronutrient supplementation with Vita JYM is even more critical than focusing on your workout nutrition with Pre JYM, Pro JYM and Post JYM. But ideally, you should be taking all four.

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